Ideas for improving the federal tax system are launched almost daily. Reformers have proposed a flat tax, an optional flat tax, the Buffett Rule. They’ve advocated broadening the tax base or instituting taxes on consumption or carbon.
Though most tax reform proposals are promoted as simplifying and rationalizing our extremely complex tax code, almost all lack critical details. But with tax cuts expiring and automatic spending cuts looming, taxation will return to the center of debate early in 2012.
That could be a good thing. Over the last 57 years, Congress has created a 4,000-page tax code, in which spending programs are disguised as tax preferences and loopholes favor special interests and distort economic decisions.
A reformed tax system should be simple, fair and predictable. It should promote economic growth. Would-be reformers should consider these guiding principles…….